This summer has been weird. The weather is funky. Like really funky. We’ve had multiple heat waves and triple digits, more wind than ever, and we’ve battled some warm water temps this year. And now….before August ends we seem to be slipping into the Autumn.
We have a cooling trend and now it’s not getting above 80. Might see some warmer days over the next 3 weeks but the forecasts call for lower temps as we move into September. I can tell you the river is already moving that way.
The summer stones or Shortwing Stonefly is hatching. Has been for a week or so. And that ushers in the fall season. They usually hatch at the end of the month into September as the temps start to cool. They’ve already started. Which means the river and fish know and feel what’s coming before we do.
Flows haven’t started dropping and probably won’t for 3 more weeks. Already water temps are cooling back down. I suspect next week we will be back to fishing in the evening. We were seeing 65 and 70 degrees in the upper and lower respectively, but already water temps have dropped back to 60 degrees. Those higher elevation overnight lows are cooling the water again. Wooo!
Fishing has been great. Absolutely awesome. You all are missing out. Covid scares, and economic stuff, as well as smoke and water temps have been making for a really light month this August. Not what I want but it’s reality right now and 17 months into this pandemic it’s still having a large effect on things whether people believe it or not. I usually work 10 15 days in a row in August prior to covid, with 20 to 30 trips done with double days. We’ve been lucky to get to 3 to 5 in a row and 15 a month. It’s still light and that stress is there as we come into the end of the season. I’m already planning pivots for the winter as I knew I wouldn’t work enough to get through an offseason. The fall season brings a lot of excitement due to the fishing but also some anxiety as guide-able days become less and less.
I’ve made my living for 7 years this way. Got a little tougher these last 2 seasons. Changes are neccessary moving forward. Scary but also part of the plan. Just pivoting on the how and what.
The fall brings me that clarity. Things slow back down. The river settles into her regular pace. I know the river the best in the Autumn. I’ve spent more days on water in the fall over the past 10 years than most. The river has changed considerably these past 2 seasons which makes the river even more fun as the water drops.
The best mother fucken hatches on the Yakima River are in the late season. And we are already onto our first big one. Let me brake it down real quick like.
Summer stones usher in the end of the summer. Big stoneflies that hatch nocturnal. This tells us the overnight lows are shifting and the barometric pressure is starting to change from that consistent summer time high pressure to more normal fluctuating barometric pressure. Sciencey but after years you can feel it. Gets the guide senses tingling.
The water starts to drop due to the flip flop, when they turn off irrigation water flows and the river drops back to her normal size around 1500 cfs generally. She sits around 900 to 1200 in the upper by end of October. This drop in flow also gives us our naturally fluctuating water temps again. Temps rise and fall during the 24 hr cycle more naturally making fish metabolism more normal and puts fish in the prime feeding temp zone. That lovely 52 to 58 degree water. Fish start to act more trouty.
Then the Cranefly Hatch occurs. It’s the fucken best anglers. These dangle morsels hatch in the late am and the fish go bonkers. We get to skate flies and watch trout chase em and eat the crap out of them. It’s awesome balls. That’s gonna start really soon. Get on the calendar.
Then as things start to cool down air temp wise more the October Caddis and mayflies return. I’m very stoked for these hatches. Fish are ravenous in October and have to pack in as much as they can for the winter. As it gets colder the big fish get hangrier. We get to skate big orange bugs in the late afternoon and evening after picking apart riffles with little dries for sipping trout. Headhunting at its finest. Oh ya. Bwos, mahogany duns, and cahills all hatch in the late season. Mmmm. Little dries.
Lastly we get a bunch of salmon in the system. Eggs, and flesh oh ya. Trout chase down the salmon and feed off them. They feed off the little fish feeding off the salmon, it becomes a crazy food frenzy for fish. We get to huck streamers and swing em for big boys, we get do run eggs and sucking leech patterns for Trout. And yes you can dead drift flesh flies and produce chonkers. It’s awesome. So if you like to swing or chase really big fish…October baby.
There are roughly 60 days of the late season left to fish. Let’s fill them up with clients, trout, and happy faces. We all need it. Come on out for the end of the 2021 trout season! It’ll be really fun.
The river is always there. Life isn’t supposed to be easy. And like the trout that I chase it rarely is. I find my late 20s and early 30s to be mostly class IV and V rapids. Eddy out for a breather here and there. I apologize in advance for all the river and fish references. Like sports ball!
Tis the older millennial curse I guess. A world that’s trying to kill you, passed aside as a well educated snowflake generation, trying to make it as a small business owner, post covid, still in covid, living guide trip to guide trip. It’s not what I set out for but what I was dealt.
Off river life…ya, let’s stay away from that for now. The river is always there when I need it though. When I need to ponder and process, or need to release anger and frustration, when I need to get away from the noise of people, the pressure of being a guide, a good dad, a good boyfriend. When no one else listens….the river does. It takes my focus, stimulates my whole being…if I could be a fish I would.
What it comes right down to is the simplicity of fly fishing…and also its complexity. One of only a few activities I’ve ever done that never leaves me bored. I get bored easy. Sitting still, hanging around, it’s not my default mode. Covid put a damper on it. Now that things seem to be getting better the drive to move is back. Slowly but its back. That drive to work, to play, to do.
I rarely ever find anyone that can keep up. Most days its a solo affair. And I still pursue people that can hang but tis the life of a trout bum river rat to always be wanting more. It makes you greedy, makes you aloof, makes things that others find important…trivial. Not always the easiest way to go about things.
The Season is in its peak, but the world is still trudging to catch up and heal. It’s hard sitting still when things are good. It’s hard to wake up some mornings with no new trip inquires. After 2020 I had hoped things would pick up substantially, unfortunately that’s has not been the case this summer. Fishing is amazing…trips not so much.
It’s exhausting when all you want to do is work and get going but everything around you is still at as ails pace comparatively. Wanting to travel and explore and share new experiences but stuck still. It’s maddening. Hence the snorkeling and fishing.
I can find solace and stretch my mind in or on the water. Being a part of the lives of the things I chase and hold dearly keeps the negative at bay. The river is always there.
The summer is going strong. Things are hot, places are on fire, it’s the new norm. After a bust of a trip to the St. Joe and then again on the Methow due to fires we ended up fishing Cooper Lake. It was wicked getting to see some Browns and having Alec get his first one and a doozy at that.
Now camping is closed off, day use is still allowed which means we can fish. The summer has been weird post covid and now this fire shit again, plus the fly fishing industry still reeling from the pandemic now has drought, low water, and hot water issues all over the west. I feel for my guide counterparts in other places having to combat the effects of AG and climate change. Frontline of it.
Here on the Yakima we are fairing well. We had decent snowpack and made it through the heat waves with enough water in the reservoirs to get us through. This season. I feel that every year there will be more fires, more heat waves, less precip, it’s not always the easiest to stay positive. It’s supposed to get easier post pandemic…right?
Thankfully we can fish. And it’s busy but not as busy as it could be. I can always work more. It’s rarely enough. So bring it on. It’s hopper season.
We’ve been chucking big bugs for a minute now but it’s really good in the mornings and evenings. Big flies, big slurpy and slappy trout. Heavy flows, water under 60 degree, it’s dope out there. We are getting away with dries almost all day. A few sections of river I have clients bobber dog streamers and we’ve been booking CHONKER DONKEY Trout. It’s been a blast.
I had days open this week so get on the calendar and lots of stuff open in August. The fall season…the best season…is right around the corner. Get on it!
It is the month of July. Which means the month of dries. One of the only months where you can get away with chucking a dry fly all day and trick the troots. It’s had already happened on the few trips already this month.
It’s the month of smorgasbord! Hoppers, ants, stoneflies, caddis, drakes, beetles, tricos, spinner fall, there are bugs to eat. Water temp is in the low to mid 50s unlike most other western rivers right now….we do not have hot water temps in the mainstem Yakima.
Fortunately for us we had decent snowpack and even with our past heat wave we still have water. The Teanaway and smaller trib streams are starting their summer drop and warm up but the mainstem Yak will be just fine all summer.
The evening floats are pushing out some chonker trout. Early AM floats as well. We aren’t fishing the middle of the day as much but they will eat basically all day now.
Flows are up, which means the treadmill is on for these fish. It’s work our time. Big flows, big bugs, big eats! The fish are now pushed into the banks with the heavy flows. With the water temps hovering in that prime trout feeding zone: 50 to 55 we are in business for a bitchen July and August.
I invite new anglers to come in the summer. The water is big and can be overwhelming but my boat and I will get ya over that really quick. The new or inexperienced angler is at the advantage in the summer. Trout gotta eat, they are easier to find, and it makes them a little more inclined for the new angler with everything cranked up to 11. Plus it’s mostly if not all dry fly fishing. I’ll show ya how to do the other techniques, and we will catch fish on them. But we mostly go for the dry eat this time of year. It really fun.
I have lots of opening in July. I’ll be out of town from the 14 to the 17 but we are wide open otherwise.
I will also be adding the Methow river in August for floats which is new this season so if that interests you keep am eye our for those dates as they will be run like a camp. I’m up there. You meet me there to fish!
Coming up this week I have the 8th, 9th, 11th open. 12th and 13th are free as well. I highly reccomend the morning or evening half day floats.
This season has been great. We are close to 100 trips and hope to break 130 which is double last year during covid. I can’t thank everyone enough for the continued support. 7 years full time guiding. Lets fill up the rest of the summer and chase trout anglers! Reserve a trip today and get in on the summer action here on the Yakima River.
The Season is here anglers. It is summer whether the calendar says it or not. The river is high, the sun is bright, it’s light until almost 10 pm, water temps are above 50 degrees….the bugs are here.
Some of the best bugs in the upper river in my professional opinion. We have the Salmon Flies which pop early on the Yak. While other watersheds ate just now getting the hatches of the big orange morsels we are just finishing up. Historically never a prolific hatch the Salmon Flies typical correspond with our run off and Salmon pulses which negatively impacts that invertebrate. But it ushers in the next two stonefly species. The Yellow Sally and the Golden Stonefly.
The Yellow Sally is a small size 10 to 14 Yellow stonefly and the females have a red butt and egg sack that develops. They are unique in that they hatch out of the water column like a mayfly. And fish, especially cutties…smack the hell out of em. It’s ann easy eat because it hatches in mass throughout the middle of the day. Allowing trout to seek out and feed on them at their leisure. This makes for those lazy full belly slurps I. The back water and Eddie’s, but also those fast shoulder roll riffle sips that are quick and easy to miss. But fish also look for Sally’s up along the bank and in the tight fast water. It’s a fun bug that let’s us head hunt and pick fish off with dries during the middle of the day.
The Golden Stonefly my personal favorite is just a smidge smaller than the salmon fly. It’s bright yellow or golden or rusty colored. It’s just cool. They like other stoneflies are bank hatchers. They get up on the bank, in the grass and overhangs and hatch, mate, and the females come back to the river in the mid to late afternoon to lay eggs. Chucking big yellow bugs is wicked fun and the takes are explosive. It’s a big meal. The flows are up, the water temps put trout in prime feeding metabolism mode, and we get the awesome summer time days of big dry fishing.
We so get ants. Big carpenter ants. Otherwise known as a purple chubby. I have had days where we sling a single purple chubby for 8 hrs and hook fish all day. They love that stupid fly. We also have mornings with PMD mayfly hatches and fish chasing down meat-sickles before the sun makes them shy. Streamers can be really fun before 10 am as we get into June.
And this season…the drakes look to be good this season! There are a lot of nymphs. And it’s getting close. Fish are stoopid for Green Drakes. One of my favorite side channel bugs. Lots of options for different kinds of fishing.
There’s also caddis in the evenings, PED mayflies, spinner fall, and other terrestrial that start to become viable food for Trout battling the heavy summer flows of the Yakima River. Needless to say there is a lot of food and trout are in a position where they gotta eat it. It’s what fishing on the Yak is all about. The angler is at the advantage in the high water of the summer.
Fish basically gotta eat all day. They have had plenty of time to settle in now. The last salmon pulse has finished and the flows are going to stabilize for thr most part. Side channels have been open for 10 days now. Debris has settles, trees have found their resting places, the river is ready for summer….are you?
After last year. I hope to see a lot of familiar faces! It’s been since before the plague for a lot of us. The trips are coming in and I couldn’t be more grateful. We are on track to do a lot more trips over last season. You anglers keep my trout bum ass rambling and rolling. It is my absolute pleasure to share the Yakima River and the wild fish that live here with you all. Let’s make this summer bitchen…see ya riverside anglers.
The Teanaway River. The Yakima Rivers’ largest Freestone Tributary. The Teanaway River is a scrappy little river that has etched out his place against the rugged Enchantments, sandstone bedrock, through years of lumber harvest, gold mining, farming, some of its species going extinct like the native bull trout and salmon, to droughts, fires, and climate change…you name it the Teanaway has dealt with it. Still flowing…sometimes 11 cubic feet a second…trickling until it comes back to life with the rain and snowpack every season.
Lets talk scope about how big the Teanaway referred to as the T from now on. I have seen the T hit 10,000 cfs and I have seen it trickle into the Yakima as low as 9 cfs. In the span of 5 months I have seen it drop like that. You can review the historical data to see for yourselves on the BOR site. That River at one time would let out 15 plus thousand cfs. But it would also retain several 100 thousand acre feet of water within its Basin before man came around.
You can see pictures of the T from when the loggers, gold and coal miners showed up. You couldn’t even walk up the river or the woods for that matter. It was thick with trees some of them almost 1000 years old in places. There are still some left way back up in the high country. I found them. A few horse people know what I’m talk about. The things those trees know.
That river used to be one giant log jam from top to bottom. As it became developed for resources as well as living, the river was stripped and the flood plain wiped away. All that water that used to be retained lost in massive melt off events that washed away centuries of natural processes that made the T a bastion for native species of trout and other wildlife above and below the rivers surface.
The gravity of what the Teanaway used to be is lost on us. Only a few photos remain and only a select handful of people even recall that time these days. All that beautiful sandstone we love and think is so gorgeous. We shouldn’t see it. It should be covered in acres of gravel, stone, organic debris like wood and leaves, but its not. That is the bedrock. Not the substrate. The whole valley should literally be higher in elevation. If you look at LIDAR images from surveys done for conservation work you can see how the river used to flow.
It was a windy, constantly turning on itself, back winding, S curving, 90 degrees after 90 degrees. Huge pools and back skews would form around woody deposits, and these log jams were the size of high school stadium bleachers in places. Holding snow, and water all year long. There used to be glaciers back up in there. I’ve climbed and mountaineered their remnants. It was rugged beyond description. Only a few places like that still exist back up in there. Miles from where the road ends at the Ingalls trailhead.
Grizzly and Black bear, wolves, some of the largest Elk in the lower 48, 3 species of salmon, wild steelhead of their own specific genetic strain, a resident population of gentirically specific Teanaway River Bull Trout that have since gone extinct as well. Beaver, river otter, osprey, eagle, and of course the Teanaway River Westslope Cutthroat Trout. A genetically unique subspecies of Teanaway River Trout that are also one the last and farthest west reaching Westslope Cutththroat. Once you travel over Snoqualmie Pass and pass over the North Cascade Divide…all the Cutthroat Trout are a different species entirely. The Coastal Cutthroat Trout. Kinda neat huh?
Like the Bluebacks or Greenbacks also native subspecies of westlsope Trout that are super unique so too are our Teanaway River Westslope Cutthroat Trout. They hold a special place in my heart. For years I chased them with a small fly rod. Entranced by their beauty, their wildness, and their ferocity to a fly no matter if they are 3 inches or 18 inches. Those Yakima River cutties we love catching…where you think they come from? They are unique in color compared to other cutties like those of Montana or Idaho. They have a much more magenta or rise colored gill plate, a brighter chartreuse in the tail, larger leopard style spots, and two of the most neon of orange slashes that give them their namesake. These fish are in a position to really start recovering. With more work, help, and understanding of what makes them tick we already know so much. I have spent more time in recent seasons just enjoying the Teanaway. I volunteer time here and there but its in good hands and is on the right path. I will always come back to put more time into the Teanaway, and always thankful for all that have and continue to work on the restoration of that Teanaway Watershed.
As I came into conservation I dedicated hours upon hours to those fish. Learned more about them, developed a deep held respect and passion for them. The ability of these scrappy little Trout to continue to adapt and survive against literally everything that should have wiped them out is astounding. They still find a way. They have seen all but themselves leave their watershed. They are all that is left. The bulls are gone, salmon trying to be rehabilitated, steelhead…a few left…some years. The Westslope’s are the last stand.
This year they are at the advantage! The snow pack has been glorious and it is almost June and we still have 90 plus percent! It’s been seasons! There has been damn near a decade of constant habitat restoration work in the upper drainage and small tributary creeks. It is making a difference. The water is coming out of the Basin more slowly, more naturally. It’s not chocolate silt, which isn’t good! That is being deposited back into the river bed. It’s rebuilding the stream end back! Years from now areas where that sandstone lays bare…will be covered. Riparian zones are returning, land owners and users use the water more efficiently than they ever have.
As the river breaths, so to does the world around. It is something I get to see and be reminded of every time I float by the confluence or drive along the windy road up into the waters I have come to call my own.
It is an amazing place. Cherish it. Respect it. I have played in it’s waters depths, mountains, and forests since I was knee high to a duck. Before roads were paved and gates installed. Before campgrounds or guard rails. It’s a special place to many. Enjoy all that it offers. The Teanaway River is truly a Gem filled with a treasure of wild trout.
To be able to walk in the waters and chase trout I know have been hiding up in there all spring this season is an absolute gift. I hold every moment in those woods and in that water close to my heart. With a year like this in terms of snow, the excitement is thick to see if the large adult Trout are seeking out that small water like they naturally should. Chasing them with fly and rod or fins and snorkel, just to be able to witness them in any form and way will always be a pursuit of mine. It envelops my mind at times. Has for years. I invite you to see what it’s all about. You’ll see, whether with me on a trip or discovering the Teanaway on your own…I invite you to experience the gem and treasure it is.
Seriously get it. We are having one of the best seasons on the Yakima. It’s a big snow year and these fish know it. Our trout are taking full advantage if this wicked cold water this year. And they are digging the big flows…they already have big ass shoulders and we haven’t even hit summer time levels!
What do I lean when I put all that out there? First, the spring has been stupid good even with all the salmon pulses and dirty water. The fish had an amazing spawn this year. And are still going at it. Lots of big breeder fish that are sexually mature adults. This means all spring we’ve been hooking into troutzillas.
Only in the past 10 days have we started to see our juvenile fish hit the fly more regularly. That’s because the water temp has finally come up to 50 degrees or so, triggering trout metabolism into prime ranges. 52 to 55 is the sweet zone for troots. As the water warms and stabilizes, which it’s doing with all this wonderful snow pack, and we get our 1000 plus fish per mile to eat more regularly. The past 3 months it’s moslty been the larger breeder trout, or adults that wake up earlier for spawning that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Couple that with our wicked hatches of mayflies and skwallas this spring and you had a fucken fantastic early season.
May has been pretty awesome although light on the guiding side. But also expected as we transition to summer. The caddis are herr on thr hot days. And the stones…for a bit longer. Ants are already showing up, fish will eat em soon…Goldens, drakes, and the PMDs are percolating. Fish already picky for yellow. Flows have come up and are stabilizing, as the Teanaway plateaus and starts is summer drop the irrigation demand will increase the mainstream flows. With the high snow pack in the lower Yakima Basin we are having a nice easy transition into summer flows. It’s been years since we have had that. Pre 2015. See why my stoke is high. Record snow fall helps with over 350 inches or some shit.
Needless to say but we have an amazing season ahead of us. We are only a third of the way in. After the year we all had last year some river time does the mind and body good. Pick up a new thing post pandemic, learn a new skill, join a new community if outdoorsy people. Its wicked fun. Anyone can do it, from toddlers to seniors. Like Legos there is no age limit on fly fishing. Fish don’t care about much. Food, cold water, a good presentation, respectful release, and that’s being philosophical, really they don’t care about you, but they will say hi and give you a good shot of adrenaline. Open up the natural world a little bit more. Ease and calm your mind through wild animal chaos. There isn’t much in this world like fly fishing. I’ve done a lot….its singularity and uniqueness is one of its most appealing aspects.
Come share it with me this season. I invite you. Enjoy life and the world outside. We all know we missed it.
The spring has been a good one. I did more trips this spring than any previous. We had skwallas, bwos, and a decent March brown hatch that is still going. I’ve put over 40 days on the river and most of them guided. Tis a far better spring than 2020.
The month of May can be tricky. We get caddis and maybe salmon flies but we also get irrigation water and purges to make sure the reservoirs fill properly. We have a lot of snow still and it’s melting at a pretty normal pace. But there’s a lot of water so I expect higher flows here soon.
The river is back in decent shape for May. And once the warmer temps being the water temps up it won’t really matter what the flows are. If it near 50 or more it’s and it’s got 15 plus inches of viz…its fishy. The big flows make fish eat more, push them into angler advantageous water, and typically make them eat dries for me.
I’ve become a bit of a dry fly whisperer with Yakima Trout. The handful of new faces in the boat this spring solidified that for me. I have heard for years now that anglers never catch fish on dries on the Yak. Which we all know isn’t true. It comes down to confidence. Yes they will eat a nymph. But they will also eat a dry. Fish the water not the fish. Too many times I see anglers dredging perfectly good dry fly water with indicators and then winder why they aren’t hooking fish. Or why it takes all day to get a fish outta that one spot.
Fish are picky. Not just for food, but how, when, and where they eat it. That’s why presentation, even with nymphs is key. When you run nymphs through dry fly specific water it spooks fish. They are up in the water column, on high alert, and on the hunt for small food. All their senses are at full function, eye sight, lateral line, oxygen content, all the stuff and things that trout use are being used. So duh…they aren’t gonna eat your shit. Chuck a dry just right and Boom. Same in reverse for throwing dries into nymphy water. You really think a troots gonna come up through 8 feet of water for a dry after not taking 30 casts of your nymph…quit it.
How do you think I get away with fishing behind everyone. Just gotta fish the water not the fish. I pick it apart, dissect it. I tailor my trips for specific fishing styles and types. We hit water with a purpose and a process. We try it all, fish it all, when something something clicks we stuck with it until it doesn’t and then start the process of dialing it in all over again. It’s what guides do. I love it and that’s the groovy part of being riverside most of the time.
The caddis are here. Percolating but here. As the warmer air and water temps arrive the fish will be all over that good source more than they are now. We also have salmon flies that seem to be happening. Historically not something we focus on here on the yak save for a few days if we are lucky but the Yakima does as she likes. And with how skwallas were and how many big salmon fly nymphs I see in the water column lately…I have hope. Like spicey heartburn…are they gonna happen…will fish eat them on top?
I have lots days open this month but as things get nice it fills up. Caddis are gonna pop hoard soon and you get your shots at 30 fish days especially fishing to dusk. I highly recommend the evening half day floats. Fish till dusk, or caddis:30, watch the sun set on the river, catch a mess of fish on dries. It’s pretty nice.